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Arsenal's former midfielder in aggressive blitz - Two red's in nine games

Former Arsenal midfielder Denilson has developed an edge to his game of late.

Arsenal drew a line under a 2006 investment this summer which had failed to materialise into a big return for the club.

It was seven years ago they bought teenager Denilson from Sao Paulo, where he had about just made his way into their side.

Despite playing more than 100 matches for Arsenal, the Brazilian was unable to carve a niche in the side - and became emblematic of Arsene Wenger's obsession with signing unproven youth rather than top stars in a period of starved success for the club.

Now 25 he is yet to be capped by his native Brazil, not featuring at any youth level beyond the under-17s.

His last appearance for the Gunners came in May 2011, but until this June he remained on the club's books.

He still had one year to go on his deal, but there were no sides willing to pay arsenal a transfer fee for his services, and foreseeing another season of having to contribute towards his wages even if they did send him on loan, the club sought to cut him loose.

A mutual agreement was found to release him from his contract, and Denilson promptly signed for Sao Paulo, where he had spent two seasons on loan.

It had not always been the smoothest transition, own goals and a row with his own fans on Twitter the low points.

A look at his recent form certainly makes interesting reading. Over the last nine matches in the Brasileiro he has received two red cards.

Both of these were for two bookable offences, with seven bookings picked up across those nine matches.

The second became the sixth time the midfielder has been sent off while playing in his homeland, while in England it occured only once in the League Cup

In fact in the Premier League in 96 appearances he picked up just nine yellow cards, a distinctly different ratio.

While the aim is to stay on the pitch and succeed, it hints at how Denilson was perhaps just too timid during his time at Arsenal - and the coaching staff were unable to bring the tough side out of him.

At Sao Paulo he appears to have gone too far at present, but find a happy medium and the midfielder may just start finally kicking on.



image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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